Entering her second year as Captain of Andover Girls Squash, Skyler Spaulding ’20 is the only four-year member of the team. Hailing from Portland, Maine, Spaulding found squash opportunities in her hometown fairly limited. Growing up, she traveled around the New England area to compete in tournaments and was able to gain more exposure to the game. Andover was the first squash team Spaulding played for, which she found to be an uplifting experience.
Spaulding said, “Playing individually is definitely a lot more lonely, and you only really have yourself to support you on the court. Having teammates to cheer you on and push you to do better is not only a lot more fun, but a lot more supportive overall.” According to team member Charlotte Toogood ’20, Spaulding’s leadership experience as a two-year captain has made her a source of inspiration for the younger players on the team.
“Last year she was also an incredible captain, and she has only gotten better. She is a great role model, especially for some of the younger players on our team, and it has been really awesome being her friend on the team and having her there to support me and the other players,” said Toogood.
“Definitely having two years to learn how to be a leader has been nice. I think I’m getting … the hang of balancing being a friend and trying to be a leader, because I try to make sure we stay on task and have fun at the same time,” said Spaulding.
Before every match, Spaulding gives a pre-game speech focusing on the team’s goal to “hunt” throughout the match and to fight for every point, motivating the team for the coming competition, according to Toogood and Katherine Bell ’22.
“One thing that she does that really helps us to get motivated for our matches is before our games, during our team huddle on court, she always gives us an awesome pep talk about hunting for the ball which gets all of us ready to go out on court [and] be aggressive,” said Toogood.
“She definitely brings a sense of motivation and responsibility for the team to watch out for each other, cheer on their games, and motivate one another. As our team captain, Skyler has always been there to help get us out of a slump if everyone is feeling down…Before every match she always gives a little hunt speech to prepare everyone for what we need to focus on,” said Bell.
According to Chelsea Cho ’21 and Toogood, the team can always rely on Spaulding to inspire her teammates and create a low-stress environment.
“Skyler brings incredible positive energy to practice everyday. Ever since I joined the team my [Junior] year, I have always been able to count on Skyler to bring up the energy with her smile and spirit. Whenever we are on the court together, we always end up laughing, and Skyler helps bring out the best in everyone on the team,” wrote Chelsea Cho ’21 in an email to The Phillipian.
Toogood added, “She shows up to practice everyday with a huge smile on her face, and she has an awesome playlist that she always playing during our warm-up, which gets the team in the right mindset for a great practice. Overall, she is really energetic, encouraging, and optimistic, but she is also able to center the team and help us put our best foot forward to win our matches.”
Spaulding hopes the team can continue to build upon its 3-1 record this season, and specifically beat Phillips Exeter Academy and Deerfield this year.
Spaulding said, “I think every match we just keep improving a lot more so by the end I can see us having a really good season. I really want everyone to want to be at practice everyday and feel welcomed to have a part of their day that they look forward too. I hope everyday we can all be super supportive of each other while also pushing others during challenge matches and drills.”